Property slump saves £180k criminal from prison sentence

Property slump saves £180k criminal from prison sentence


A man who stole £180,000 has been spared jail after blaming the housing slump on his failure to repay court-ordered compensation, according to reports in the Daily Mail.

Dean McEvilly, 38, from Burnden in Greater Manchester was convicted of thefts last year, and in October was ordered to pay a proceeds of crime court £50,000 or spend 18 months in jail.

However, McElvilly has now been reprieved after blaming the downturn in the property market, saying his house has depreciated so much in value it wouldn’t fetch enough money.

As a result, the magistrates have lowered the amount to £38,000 and given the father-of-two an extra three months to find the money.

McElvilly’s solicitor Anthony Shimmin defended McElvilly, saying he had tried to sell his home through a local estate agent but to no avail.

Mr Shimmin said he had received two cash offers of £40,000 but had refused them as it didn’t meet the original debt. He added: “This is not idleness on his part, he has been trying to sell it.”

Malcom Bristow, chairman of the magistrates’ bench at Bolton, described the events as a ‘doomsday situation’, saying: “The debt is getting higher, and the property value is getting lower.”

McElvilly has been reluctant to sell the house for the offers made, claiming it to have once been worth £95,000. “The house means a lot to me because it was my dad's, but I know it has got to be sold,” he said.

“A few years ago it was worth £95,000 but now the value just keeps going down. I had offers but could not sell it for less than £50,000.”

Convicted for stealing car stereos, sat navs and other property, McElvilly committed the crimes in order to fund a six-year drug habit. The former criminal believes he has repaid his debt to society already.

“I would go to prison for five or 10 years if it meant I could keep the house.

“I feel like I have already paid my debt to society, I have spent time in prison for my crimes, and got longer sentences because I was unable to pay compensation.

“I am going to sell the house to one of the cash buyers, and if that falls through I have organised for an estate agent to auction it on December 9.”

He added: “If I am sent to prison for not selling it I will still have to pay it when I come out, so I just have to get this sorted.”

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